Probate and Estate Administration

Losing a loved one is a difficult and emotional time, and dealing with the legal process of probate and estate administration can add to the stress.

At The Germany Law Firm, we understand the challenges you face. With over 20 years of experience specializing in probate and estate administration in Erie, CO, our dedicated team is here to guide you through every step of the process.

What is probate?

Probate is the court supervised process of settling and wrapping up a deceased person’s estate, whether with a Will (testate) or without a Will (intestate). The purpose of probate is to: 

  1. Ensure the proper distribution of assets to heirs according to a will or statute. 
  2. Prevent the decedent’s heirs, creditors, and other interested parties from claiming assets of the estate that may not rightfully belong to them. 

A person’s Last Will and Testament provides the probate court instructions on how you wish your estate to be distributed. However, if there is no Will or if the Will is not valid, the deceased person’s assets will be distributed according to Colorado intestacy laws during the probate process. 

The total value of all the property and possessions the deceased leaves behind are known as their estate. The decedent’s assets must be secured and distributed to the named beneficiaries, including real estate, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, cards, furniture, jewelry, and other property. In addition, the decedent’s debts, including taxes, must be paid.

In Colorado, there are three types of probates:

  1. Small estates (under $80,000* and no real property). Whether or not you have a will, if you have less than $80,000* when you die and no real property, your heirs may collect assets using an affidavit and will not have to open a probate action through the court.
  2. Uncontested estates (informal). This informal process is allowed when there is a valid will and no contests to the will are anticipated. In this probate, the court has a limited role in the administration but ensures the direction of the will is carried out according to the wishes of the deceased.
  3. Contested estates and invalid or questionable wills (“formal”). If the will is contested, unclear, or invalid a formal probate may be required. The court may require that the personal representative get approval for every transaction from the estate.

*The total fair market value of all property owned by the decedent and subject to disposition by will or intestate succession at the time of the decedent’s death, wherever that property is located, less liens and encumbrances, should not exceed $80,000 when the year of death is 2023. 

Can I Avoid Probate?

To avoid probate, you must set up any real property to be transferred out of your name automatically upon death. If there is no real property, there will be no probate. 

A trust, used in lieu or in combination with a Will, can be a powerful instrument and can help you solve some of the issues many face with dealing with the probate process such as:

  1. The cost of probating an estate
  2. Lack of privacy if a family wants to keep its personal business such as finances and family disputes out of the public eye
  3. The time required for an estate to go through probate

What is the probate process?

Probate assets are usually administered in one of three ways. The probate process differs for each:

  1. Completing an Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property. When filing an affidavit, the affiant (person filing affidavit, usually the heir) goes to the financial institution where the descendant’s assets are held, presents the affidavit, and collects the assets.
  2. Filing an informal probate procedure.
  3. Filing a formal probate procedure.

In an informal or formal probate procedure, the court appoints a personal representative to distribute the estate under the court’s supervision. The personal representative carries out their responsibilities of making distributions to heirs and creditors (see all the responsibilities below). Once all the assets have been transferred out of the descendant’s name and all taxes and debts have been paid, the probate case can be closed out.

What are the responsibilities of the personal representative? 

The personal representative is appointment by the court and their responsibilities include:

  • Opening and maintaining an estate bank account
  • To sell, transfer or encumber any real property
  • To sell or transfer any assets
  • To consolidate bank accounts
  • To deal with creditors

Why Choose The Germany Law Firm for Probate and Estate Administration?

Expertise You Can Trust: Benefit from our extensive experience and specialized
knowledge in handling probate and estate administration cases.

Transparent Process Overview: We demystify the probate process by offering a clear and transparent overview, ensuring you have a comprehensive understanding of each
step involved.

Tailored Solutions: Every estate is unique, and we recognize that. Our team works closely with you to tailor solutions that align with your specific circumstances and wishes.

Speak to an attorney today

Tell us how we can be of service and one of our team members will contact you.

During this challenging time, having a trusted advisor can make all the difference. Our commitment is to provide peace of mind for you and your loved ones.

Ready to Take the First Step?

Don’t navigate the complexities of probate alone. Contact us today to discuss your
unique needs with our experienced probate and estate administration team.

At The Germany Law Firm, we are here to support you, providing the guidance and
assurance you need.

Contact us to schedule your initial consultation.